Puppies can get jealous over toys, food and attention, but you don't have to let the green-eyed monster dominate your household. By carefully choosing how you reward certain behaviors, you can keep your pup's attitude from being ruled by jealousy.
Show fairness and diplomacy when interacting with your dogs. You can't very well blame a puppy for being jealous if she has to watch you lavish others with your attention all the time, so do your part to give everyone equal time.
Don't Reward Jealous Behavior
Refrain from rewarding a puppy for acting jealous. For example, if you're petting the cat and your dog chases it off of your lap to steal time with you, petting your dog or showing it positive attention rewards his bad, jealousy-motivated behavior.
Separate two animals who are both vying for affections or resources. Two puppies who are jealous of each other need a time-out of just a few minutes to calm themselves down. Separate them and put them in time-out calmly and without scolding them -- the point of this exercise is to show them that jealous behavior results in nobody getting attention, good or bad. The worst punishment for jealous dogs is to be deprived of the resource they are competing for.
Reward Good Behavior
Don't take it for granted when a puppy waits patiently while you pay attention to someone or something else, as dogs -- puppies especially -- learn from positive reinforcement. For example, if your puppy is patient while you brush, play with or pet another dog, praise and reward him when it's his turn for attention.
Encourage Positive Interaction
Encourage your puppy to interact with the object of his envy. For example, if he's jealous of another dog, get the two to play together -- this is even more effective if you are involved in the game, too. Walking them at the same time is another way to give them a bond while ensuring that they receive equal time. Similarly, if your puppy is jealous of a human, like a new significant other, encourage them to develop a relationship. This ensures that the puppy feels less threatened and also that he can understand that the human is his master.
By Tom Ryan
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.